Common Car Repairs You Should Not Do Yourself

Mechanic Car Repairs

Years ago, passenger cars were much simpler to repair, or maintain than they are today. This is why some drivers in decades past worked on their own vehicles. Modern automobiles, however, are extremely complex machines, requiring specialized tools, training, and experience to repair them.While it is tempting for some car owners to try to save time and money by repairing their own vehicles, it is not advisable. People who work on cars, but are not qualified to can jeopardize not only their safety, but also the welfare of other motorists on the road.

In this blog, let’s look at 5 common car repairs that you should not do yourself.

Common Car Repairs by Mechanics

Brake Repair

 A car’s brakes seem pretty simple. You press the pedal, and the vehicle stops. However, what is behind that process in modern cars is extremely complex. Brakes are made up of many individual components, all working together. These include brake pads, calipers, rotors, brake fluid, electronic sensors, motors, and a master cylinder.

With the introduction of Automated Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), your car’s brakes are likely part of a network of computer modules, electronic sensors, motors, and software that run the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) Lane Departure System (LDS) or Collision Avoidance Systems. Many of these safety features require post repair calibration to operate correctly.  Because a vehicle’s braking system is such a critical part of its safety features, be sure to have a qualified technician repair it.

Transmission Repair      

Automobile transmissions have always been complicated, but this is especially true today. Because modern transmissions are part of the powertrain control network, classic symptoms like slipping, erratic or hard shifting are generally not transmission malfunctions but rather a sensor providing incorrect data to the powertrain control module and/or transmission control module. Discovering the root cause of these symptoms usually requires advanced specialized training.

In fact, not all mechanics are qualified to do it. If you sense your transmission is slipping, or not shifting correctly, be sure to take the car to a technician who is qualified to diagnose the problem and fix it.

Engine Diagnostics

Today’s vehicles have multiple onboard computers that help monitor and control their performance. If the  “Check Engine” light appears on your dashboard, this is your car letting you know that something needs attention.

Well-meaning parts store employees can plug a diagnostic reader into a port under the dash and learn from a series of codes why your engine light is glowing. While some people try to interpret a code by looking it up on the internet, correctly repairing the issue is an entirely different skill set. A qualified technician will use specialized tools to analyze which sensors are reporting outside of their acceptable parameters then perform tests to discover why it is occurring.  Pro Tip: The root cause is generally not the sensor which illuminated the “check engine light”.

Car Electrical Repair

Automobile electrical systems are more complicated today than any other period in the history of vehicle manufacturing. The science of electricity hasn’t changed since Ben Franklin flew his kite in a thunderstorm. But the strategies employed to control nearly every component of a modern car is changing with every model year.  Even simple light bulb functionality requires knowledge of advanced electronic networks.

Be sure to take your car to an experienced, trained mechanic to address any electrical system problems.

Suspension Repair   

Like your car’s braking system, its front and rear suspension play a critical role in keeping you safe.

They are designed to support the weight of the car as it travels down the road. In addition, your car’s steering is dependent upon the front suspension operating properly.

Over time, a vehicle’s suspension parts will wear, and need to be replaced. Because your safety is literally riding on your car’s suspension, be sure it is serviced by people who have been formally trained to repair, perform an alignment and calibrate any affected sensors such as SAS,

Car Starter Issues

One of the most often used components on your car’s engine is the starter. Without it, your vehicle won’t be taking you anywhere.

Starters in most modern cars are attached to the engine in hard-to-reach spots. In addition, many vehicles require that other parts be removed before the starter can be accessed. If your starter is not performing as it should, be sure to take the car to a qualified mechanic who can fix it properly.

You should consult your mechanic if you experience any of these common car problems.

  • Grinding sounds, or poor stopping performance from the brakes.
  • Transmission shifting issues.
  • The “Check Engine” light comes on.
  • Something goes wrong with the electrical system.
  • The car begins to ride rough, or not steering like it should.
  • The starter will not engage the engine.

Car-X is Here to Help!

You rely on your vehicle to keep up with your busy lifestyle. For more than 50 years, the highly knowledgeable team at Car-X has been helping our customers stay safe out on the road.

Whether it be for any type of repair or preventative maintenance, you can count on us to take care of it promptly. Visit your local Car-X today!

request appointment

Can My Flat Tire Be Fixed?

At some time or another, most people will experience a flat tire on their car. Flats can happen for a variety of reasons, and the good news is that in most cases, tires that have gone flat can be repaired. However, not all tires can be repaired.flat tire

In this blog, let’s take a look at the various ways a flat tire can be repaired, when it can’t, and the importance of having a good quality spare should you ever need it.

Why Do Car Tires Go Flat?

Car and truck tires can go flat for a number of reasons, including:

  • Punctures from a nail, bolt or glass in the tread area.
  • Broken bead.
  • Faulty valve stem.
  • Damage to the tire’s sidewall.

Punctures

There are many objects in the street or highway that can cause a tire puncture. If a sharp object has torn a hole in the tread of your tire, it can usually be repaired.

One- & Two-Piece Patches

A highly effective way to repair a punctured tire is with a patch. Today, there are both one piece and two-piece patches available. A qualified technician will be able to determine which type of patch should be utilized.

With patches, it’s important to know that the location of a tire puncture can only be in the area known as the crown. The crown is defined as the region between the shoulders of the tire.

The angle at which the tire injury occurred will determine whether a one piece or two-piece patch should be used. If the injury angle is less than 25-degrees, a one-piece patch repair can be made. Tires that have a puncture angle of more than 25-degrees require a two-piece patch.

 Sidewall Damage Cannot be Repaired 

When inflated, tires are under a tremendous amount of pressure, especially around the sidewall area. If a tire experiences damage to the sidewall, it cannot be repaired safely. Tires with sidewall damage must be replaced.

 Broken Beads

The bead is the seal between the tire and the edge of the rim that is designed to keep air from escaping. Age, weather conditions, or hitting a big pot hole can cause a tire’s bead to fail. A qualified tire technician can remove the tire from the rim, clean both thoroughly and apply a special bead sealer adhesive. Once dry, the tire can be re-inflated and put back on the car.

Broken Valve Stems

The valve stem is mounted into a tire’s rim and allows for the filling and releasing of air. If a valve stem is broken or faulty, it will not hold air. Valve stems can be easily replaced by a qualified technician.

Everything You Need to Know About Spare Tires

Nobody really thinks about their car’s spare tire, until they need to use it! Be sure to check the air pressure in your spare tire every time you check the rest of the tires. Be sure to follow the instructions on the spare tire with regard to inflation limits.

While some cars have full size spares, many vehicles today have what are known as “space savers” or “donut spares”. These types of spare tires are much smaller than your car’s regular tires, and should only be used for a very limited amount of time and miles. No matter what kind of spare tire you have, be sure it is in good condition, has adequate tread, and properly inflated.

Car-X is Your One Stop Tire Solution!

Car-X has been providing quality, reliable automotive services since 1971. Maintaining your tires is important to do all year long. If you have a flat tire, our experienced team can get you back on the road in no time. We also carry a large selection of brand name tires at a great price should you need them.

Call Car-X today and schedule an appointment for all of your tire repair or replacement needs! 

request appointment

Catalytic Converters

For nearly fifty years, the catalytic converter has been an essential componentcatalytic converter, parts, function, works of an automobile’s emission and exhaust system. These devices have also been in the news in recent years, as they are frequently stolen from the underneath of cars.

What is a Catalytic Converter?

First appearing onto the automotive scene around 1975, a catalytic converter is an oval-shaped device that is connected to a car’s exhaust system. The converter receives toxic gasses from a car’s engine, and transforms it into less harmful pollutants. This is accomplished through a chemical reaction process inside the unit.

What is the Purpose of a Catalytic Converter?

The principle purpose of a catalytic converter is to reduce the amount of emission pollution a gasoline or diesel engine produces while running. Starting in the 1970s, many people were becoming concerned about the air quality in populated areas, as it related to the amount of pollution automobiles were producing.

Where is the Catalytic Converter Located on a Car?

The catalytic converter is normally located about halfway down a car’s exhaust pipe, between the engine and the vehicle’s muffler.

How Do Catalytic Converters Work?

When a car’s exhaust gases travel through a heated catalytic converter, several chemical reactions take place that reduce the amount of toxic fumes the vehicle emits into the air.

What is Inside a Catalytic Converter?

A catalytic converter has multiple components within its metal container that make it work. When heated, a ceramic material, known as a substrate provides a suitable surface area for the unit’s chemical reactions to take place.

The precious metals Platinum (Pt), Palladium (Pd), and Rhodium (Rh) are also contained in the device, which are responsible for the chemical reaction that cleans a car’s exhaust before it is released into the atmosphere.

Why Are Catalytic Converters Stolen?

catalytic converter, stolen, theft Catalytic converters are often stolen because they contain the precious metals, Platinum (Pt), Palladium (Pd), and Rhodium (Rh). After removing the converter from a car, thieves extract these valuable metals from the device and sell them. These metals are considered rare, as they are mined mostly in South Africa and Russia.[/caption]

Criminal activity involving catalytic converters has skyrocketed in recent years, partly due to supplies being adversely affected by the worldwide Covid Pandemic.

How Are Catalytic Converters Stolen?

Stealing a catalytic converter from a vehicle is not easy. Thieves climb under a car with a reciprocating saw and cut the unit off the exhaust system. This process is extremely noisy, but only takes several minutes to do.

Are Catalytic Converter Thefts Covered By Insurance?

If an auto owner has Comprehensive coverage on their policy, the theft of a catalytic converter would be covered.

What To Do If Your Catalytic Converter is Stolen

Should you become the unfortunate victim of a catalytic converter theft, the first thing to do is remain calm. Call the police and file a report. It is also important to alert your insurance company about the theft that has occurred.

Car-X Can Help

Your friendly, local Car-X Tire & Auto can help if your catalytic converter is stolen from your vehicle. Our experienced technicians will replace the unit and restore your car’s exhaust system back to normal operation. We’ve been helping motorists with all types of car repairs since 1971, and we are here to assist you too.

request appointment

What’s the Difference Between Conventional vs. Semi-Synthetic Oil?

When it comes to the maintenance of vehicles, motor oil, and oil changes areSynthetic oil change, conventional oil change, best oil for my vehicle imperative. Motor oil is essential for properly lubricating a car’s engine, at all temperatures and speeds.

There are many different types of motor oil on the market today, including conventional, synthetic, and semi-synthetic blends.  No matter what kind of car you have or its age, it’s important to know the right kind of oil to use, so your vehicle can operate at top performance and provide many years of reliable service.

Different Types of Motor Oil

Let’s look at the different types of oil used in cars on the road today.

Conventional Oil

Conventional oil is a refined crude oil, and compared to other oil types, it generally has fewer additives. Conventional oil is recommended for older vehicles and those seeking the least expensive option.

Full- Synthetic Oil

Unlike conventional oil, which is made of crude oil, synthetic oil is entirely manufactured, so its formula is always the same and helps with vehicle performance. The chemical properties in fully synthetic oil have been refined, removing impurities and adding properties that will benefit fuel and engine efficiency. Synthetic oil is recommended for high-performance vehicles, and although it is more expensive, it will allow for less frequent oil changes than conventional oil.

It is important to know that not all cars can run properly on full-synthetic oil. Be sure to refer to your owner’s manual for proper guidance.

Semi-Synthetic Oil

Semi-synthetic oil, or a synthetic blend oil, combines both full synthetic oil and conventional oil. While this mixture generally has more conventional oil than synthetic oil, it does get the beneficial additives of synthetic oil that help protect the engine. This type of motor oil is less expensive than full synthetic, making it a more economical choice.

Be sure to check your car’s specifications for the right oil to use.

How To Know Which Motor Oil Is Best?

The advantage of a conventional oil is the cost. And for older vehicles, it is best and provides the best engine protection and lubrication for aging engines.

Synthetic oil is made of properties that prevent corrosion and is designed to protect today’s high tech engines. It’s more expensive than conventional oil, but is a necessity for many newer cars.

Synthetic-blend oil is a good middle of the road option, as it combines both conventional and synthetic blends together. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual about whether your car was designed to utilize a hybrid blend such as this one.

Car-X is Your One Stop Auto Repair Solution

Car-X has been providing quality, reliable automotive service since 1971. Proper maintenance and service of your vehicle can make a big difference in providing you with many miles of trouble-free driving.

Call Car-X today and schedule an appointment for an oil change on your vehicle! We make the process easy and fast!

request appointment

Should I Have My Car Inspected? 6 Great Reasons To Do It

Vehicle InspectionModern cars are extremely complex machines, with many systems and components working together to make your vehicle operate at top performance. As cars age and accumulate miles, it is very important they be regularly inspected to ensure safety and proper operation. In fact, 15 states in the U.S. legally require that cars be inspected to be permitted on roads and highways.

So, should you have your car inspected? The answer is certainly, yes! Let’s take a look at 6 critical systems on your vehicle that should be inspected at regular intervals.

Brakes

The brake system is one of the most critical safety components on your vehicle. Every car owner’s brake system will require maintenance at some point, as regular driving will begin to wear brake pads, shoes, and sometimes rotors, drums, or calipers.

Visit a qualified auto repair facility to ensure that your brakes are working as they should. The shop will do a visual inspection of the brake system and a test drive to determine if the brakes are performing as they were designed to do.

Steering Components

Your car’s steering system is made up of numerous components, working together so the vehicle can safety turn and travel down the road. When parts such as tie rods, idler arms, pitman arms. drag links, or other components become worn or damaged, your car will not steer as well as it should.

Not only can worn steering parts affect vehicle safety, but cause premature tire wear.

An inspection by a reputable repair shop can identify any potential issues with your car’s steering system.

Engine

Has the check engine light on your car’s dashboard suddenly come on? This could be an indication that your vehicle needs attention. Repair shops today have software-based diagnostic tools that can determine why the check engine light is on.

In addition, as cars age, gaskets can leak, causing fluid loss from the oil pan, transmission, or cooling system.

If you notice motor oil or other fluids on the ground where you park your car, bring it to a repair shop for an evaluation. An inspection can quickly determine where leaking fluids are coming from, so the shop can offer a solution to repair the problem.

Fuel System

For nearly all cars today, gone are the days of simple carburetors and fuel delivery systems. Modern fuel systems are extremely complex, and if not working properly, can affect both driving performance and safety.

In addition, like any other component of your car, fuel systems can get dirty over time. An experienced repair facility can inspect it to ensure the system is performing properly.

Filters

Your car has a number of filters that help it operate at top performance. When air or cabin filters become dirty, they can affect both performance and comfort as you drive. If you have not had your car’s filters changed or inspected for some time, have a repair shop look at them as soon as possible.

Tires

When it comes to the old expression “where the rubber hits the road”, your car’s tires are what connect it to the streets you drive on. Over time, tires experience tread wear or can be damaged by potholes.

Be sure to have a qualified repair shop inspect your tires to ensure they are inflated properly, have a safe amount of tread left, and are in good condition.

 Car-X is Your One Stop Vehicle Inspection Solution!

Car-X has been providing quality, reliable automotive services since 1971. When it’s time to have your car inspected for safety and performance, you can count on the pros at Car-X to help!

Our experienced technicians will make sure your vehicle is safe and performing as it should.

Call the Car-X Man and schedule an appointment for your vehicle. Let us help you enjoy many miles of trouble-free driving.

request appointment

Why is My Check Engine Light On?

Check Engine LightYou are driving your car down the freeway, and everything seems to be fine. Then suddenly the Check Engine Light illuminates on the dashboard. When this issue occurs, it is important that you address this problem in a timely manner.

In this blog, we will take a look at what to do when your Check Engine Light comes on, some possible reasons for it, and most importantly, how to get the problem resolved.

What is the Check Engine Light?

Today’s vehicles are extremely intricate machines, with many onboard computers controlling all the vehicle’s complex operations.

When the Check Engine Light becomes illuminated it is a warning to the driver that the car’s onboard computers have detected a problem that a system in the vehicle is not performing as it should.

Your vehicle will also tell you the severity of the situation by illuminating the Check Engine Light in several different ways.  A solid yellow light means that the issue at hand is not immediately urgent but should be addressed.

A flashing light is an indication that something is seriously wrong and requires immediate attention.

Anytime your Check Engine Light comes on it is very important to take your car to a qualified repair shop to diagnose the issue.

Top Reasons That Check Engine Lights Appear

Engine Issues

Various engine problems can trigger the Check Engine Light to come on. Whether it be low oil pressure, overheating, or drivability issues, the light is a warning that something is going on that should not be happening.

Transmission Problems

Your car’s transmission plays a critical role in its operation, as it transfers engine power to the wheels, so the vehicle can move. Some transmission issues are mechanical in nature, and others are electronic or computer related. Transmission problems may cause the Check Engine light to illuminate. 

Emission System

Today’s modern cars are equipped with sophisticated emissions systems that are designed to minimize the amount of pollution a vehicle produces while in operation.

There are many sensors and other components that make up a car’s emission system. If any component stops performing as it should, the Check Engine Light will appear.

Overheating

Engines and transmissions produce a tremendous amount of heat as they drive down the road.

A car’s cooling system is designed to keep the vehicle’s operating temperature within the proper range. When this system develops an overheating problem, serious damage to the engine can result.

How Do You Resolve a Check Engine Light Problem?

Just as cars have many sophisticated on board computers today, modern repair shops invest in complex diagnostic equipment that is used to determine what is wrong with a vehicle, and the best strategy to fix it.

Highly trained technicians connect to a car’s computer system by using diagnostic equipment at the repair shop. Based on a wide variety of trouble codes and performance measurements, a technician can interpret the nature of a vehicle’s issue and decide how to properly repair it.

Once the proper repairs have been made, the technician can “clear” the Check Engine light and turn it off. Then the technician will take a test drive and ensure all systems are operating properly.

Car-X is Your One Stop Auto Repair Solution!

For more than 50 years, the pros at Car-X have helped our customers keep their vehicles on the road and operating at top performance. In our shops, we have the latest diagnostic equipment for most type of vehicles, and our experienced technicians receive specialized training on how to use it. Should you find yourself with a Check Engine light illuminated on your dashboard, be sure to visit your local Car-X repair shop today.

We will get you back on the road in no time! Click to request an appointment today.

request appointment

Why is My Car Leaking Coolant?

 

coolant leak, leak under car

One of the most important components of your car’s engine is its cooling system, as it is responsible for preventing the motor from overheating while driving. If you happen to notice, a bright green or orange fluid on the ground under your car, you could have a coolant leak and should get the issue addressed right away.

Let’s look at 5 reasons your car might be leaking coolant or what is known as anti-freeze.

Leak in the Radiator or Hoses 

A car’s radiator is usually located in the front of the engine compartment, behind the grill. It is responsible for taking hot coolant from the engine and reducing its temperature. The coolant is then returned to the engine. This process is repeated in a continuous cycle.

If your radiator springs a leak, coolant will pour out onto the ground. This can be hazardous, as a leaking radiator will not be able to cool anti-freeze properly. In addition, the car’s coolant supply will eventually leak out, possibly causing severe engine damage. Take your car to a qualified technician to see if your radiator or one of its hoses is leaking.

Faulty Radiator Cap

Sometimes a leak can come from the radiator cap itself.  Because the cap is constantly under extreme pressure, its seal can wear out, causing a fluid leak. A qualified repair shop can test your radiator cap for proper performance.

Water Pump Leak

Your car’s water pump is responsible for circulating coolant around the engine and to the radiator. Leakage is one of the first signs of a faulty water pump. A failing water pump can cause a vehicle to lose a great quantity of coolant and eventually overheat. Have an auto repair shop inspect your water pump for leaks and to determine if it is functioning properly.

Blown Head Gasket

A failed head gasket can cause serious damage to an engine, even to the point of seizure. The head of the engine is where the fuel, ignition, exhaust, and intake systems all come together to perform their various functions.

A car with a blown head gasket needs to be turned off right away, to avoid catastrophic damage from occurring. If you suspect that this has happened to your vehicle, consult with a qualified repair person immediately.

Expansion Tank Crack

When a car warms up to normal operating temperature, pressure builds up in the radiator which necessitates some of its coolant to be transferred to an expansion tank.

Over time, this plastic tank can crack, causing leaks. Have a trusted auto shop inspect your radiator system and its expansion tank. If you see a coolant leak coming from somewhere other than the radiator, have a technician check the expansion tank.

Car-X is Your One Stop Auto Repair Solution!

Car-X has been providing quality, reliable automotive service since 1971. If your car has developed a coolant leak, don’t wait to have it addressed, as it can lead to serious problems in a short time.

Call the Car-X Man and schedule an appointment for your vehicle. We will get your car running at top performance in no time!

request appointment

Why Your Car’s Engine Is Making a Rattling Noise

Are you hearing a rattling or pinging sound from your car? Is the noise coming from the engine area? An engine rattling noise can be a sign that something is wrong, and should be addressed as soon as possible. Let’s take a look at some possible reasons why your car’s engine is making unusual sounds.

A Rattling Noise from the Engine When Accelerating

Noises coming from the engine when you are pushing on the gas could be caused by a loose or weak timing belt, chain tensioner, cracked flywheel, or a broken flexplate.

These issues will only get worse over time, not better.  It is important to bring your car into the repair shop as soon as possible.

Noises Coming from the Engine When Idling

A common problem that may be causing a rattling noise while idling involves the engine’s hydraulic valve lifters. This part of your car is responsible for opening and closing the engine’s intake and exhaust valves.

When a lifter is not working properly, a loud ticking sound can usually be heard under the hood.

Another issue that could be causing a rattling noise at idle is piston slap. If one or more of your pistons no longer fit properly in the cylinders due to wear, piston slap can occur. This is something that should be checked out right away. 

Engine Noises Happening When the Car Is Hot 

An engine ticking noise when the car is hot could indicate low oil pressure. Insufficient oil pressure can be damaging to an engine regardless of its age, so having a qualified mechanic take a look at it is highly advisable.  

Find Help with Your Auto Repair and Services

Car-X has been providing quality, reliable automotive service since 1971. Proper maintenance and service of your vehicle can make a big difference in helping to care for your car.

Call the Car-X Man or schedule an appointment for your vehicle, and we can help repair the issues related to noises coming from your car’s engine—keeping you safe and your vehicle functioning properly.

request appointment

Why Does the Inside of My Car Smell Like Gas?

gas smell in car, car smells like gasIf the inside cabin of your vehicle smells like gasoline, it could be a sign that there may be more significant problems, and you should address them as soon as possible. While the smell of gas fumes on occasion isn’t as alarming, a strong odor from inside the vehicle should be investigated right away.  

In this article, we will discuss potential reasons why the inside of your car smells like gas, such as possible fuel or exhaust leaks, a malfunctioning gas cap  a failed pressure regulator, and more.

Fuel Leaks

If the smell of gasoline seems to be coming from the engine compartment, this could be a sign that there’s a leak in the fuel system. It is very important to have this checked out right away, as a leak in the fuel system could cause a fire under the hood.  

Exhaust Leak

In contrast, if the gasoline smell seems to be coming from the car’s exhaust, this could be a sign of an exhaust leak. One of the main functions of a car’s exhaust system is to ensure drivers aren’t breathing in exhaust fumes. If you begin smelling gas fumes at the front of the vehicle near the engine or inside the cabin, the car’s exhaust system should be checked out.

Malfunctioning Fuel Cap or EVAP system

There is also a chance the gas smell in your car cabin is because of a faulty gas cap or EVAP (emissions) system. If your vehicle’s gas cap isn’t sealing correctly or is loose, damaged, or missing, gasoline fumes may escape through the fuel filler. Modern cars are also designed with EVAP systems to capture these gas fumes, so if that’s malfunctioning, it could be the source of the gas odor.  

Failed Pressure Regulator

A failed pressure regulator may also leave your car with a gas smell. If the regulator is not working correctly, the vehicle’s fuel mixture may be off, causing an abundance of fuel to be present in the system. This will cause the car to run “rich”, which could produce a strong odor of gas in the passenger cabin.

Car-X is Your One Stop Auto Repair Solution!

Car-X has been providing quality, reliable automotive service since 1971. Proper maintenance and service of your vehicle can make a big difference in its ability to provide you with many miles of trouble free driving.  

Call the Car-X Man or schedule an appointment for your vehicle, and we can help repair the issues related to what is causing your car to smell like gas—keeping you safe and your vehicle functioning properly.

request appointment

Road Trip With Your Pet: 8 Tips

Pets play an important role in our lives; emotional support, cuddle buddy, and a fun companion. It can be hard to be away from our pets for a long period of time, which is why people often bring their pets along for the adventure. There are some critical safety tips to keep in mind if you travel with your pet in order to ensure their safety and well-being while on the road. Here are 8 safety tips for road tripping with your pet:

  • Make an appointment with vet before trip.  Make sure all vaccinations are up to date and necessary medicine is on hand. Tranquilizing a pet is generally not recommended because it could interfere with breathing. Consult with a vet for tips to keep your pet relaxed on the road.
  • Get them used to the road. If you’ll be taking a several hour road trip with your dog or cat, it is advisable to get them acclimated to the car and driving on the road beforehand. Start with short drives around the neighborhood, and gradually increase the drive time.
  • Pack a pet-friendly travel kit. Include food, a leash, portable water bowl, plastic baggies, necessary medication, a few favorite toys, and grooming supplies.
  •  Feeding. Always opt for bottled water, as tap water in new areas could result in an upset stomach. Feed your pet a light meal a few hours before departure to aid in digestion.
  • Never leave your pet locked in the car. You should never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle- especially in the heat or freezing cold. Even with the windows open, the trapped heat or cold could cause heatstroke and/or hypothermia.
  •  Invest in a USDA-approved travel carrier. You may want to let your pet roam free to have enough room, but this is more dangerous and can lead to injury. You should secure a dog or cat in a suitable crate that leaves them with enough room. Check out crash-tested and approved crates and harnesses here.
  • Keep pets in the back seat. The backseat is safest for animals because of the possible injury that could occur from the front-seat airbags. If the backseat is full of luggage or already occupied, make sure you turn off the passenger airbags and secure your pet in a crate.
  • Stop every two hours or so. Let them stretch their legs, run around for a bit, and go to the bathroom. These quick breaks are also good times to give your dog some water in order to avoid dehydration.

It is also advisable to get a routine maintenance check of your car before going on a long road trip. Make an appointment with us today!

How To Know If Your Brakes Need To Be Replaced

The brake pads are an essential factor in your braking system. They protect the rotor from damage and distribute heat from friction. Many problems could arise if the brake pads are worn down more than a quarter of an inch. The metal “wear indicators” making friction with the rotor can cause warping or cracking. Without brake pads, the heat from fiction won’t distribute evenly, which could cause the entire braking system to overheat and fail. Replacing the entire braking system will be much more expensive than getting new brake pads. Here are 4 warning signs that you may need new brakes.

Strange noises

Squealing, buzzing, or scraping sounds- Wear indicators are metal tabs near the top of the brake pads. As the brake pad wears down, the indicator will scrape against the rotor. The grating noises sound as an alarm to the driver to replace the brake pads. Neglecting these sounds can result in warped or cracked rotors.

Clicking noise- A holding device and/or clips, bolts, and pins hold the brake pads in place. You may hear a clicking or rattling noise if the brake pad has become loose.

Braking takes longer than it used to

You may begin to feel the brakes’ lack of performance when you’re driving. Be on the lookout for longer stop times or needing to apply more pressure when braking. These are clear warning signs that you’ll need to get your brakes inspected immediately.

Shifting to one side

Sometimes the brake pads wear thinner on one side faster than the other. Your car may pull slightly to the left or right when pressing on the brakes if this occurs. You run the risk of damaging your steering system if this problem is ignored. Other issues, such as uneven tire pressure, can cause uneven shifting of the car. Determine the root cause of uneven stopping by getting an inspection ASAP.

Brake pedal vibrates

A rotor in poor condition will cause the brake pedal to vibrate when stopping. An uneven grasp on the brakes will cause the rotor to become scarred, warped, rusted, or cracked. This will cause a vibration or pulsation while braking.

The braking system is one of the most critical safety features of your vehicle. Issues or concerns about brakes should not be dismissed, as negligence can lead to an accident, expensive fees in repairs, and damage to other systems in your car.

If you’ve noticed any of these issues when braking, visit your local Car-X for an inspection or repair service today: https://www.carx.com/location_search/

Why You Should Avoid Potholes on the Road

The months of December- April are considered pothole season. Potholes are formed in the pavement due to the expansion (freezing) and contraction (thawing) of ground water from rain and snow, and from heavy traffic.

While potholes usually only develop to a depth of a few inches, if they become large enough, they can cause damage to your car’s tires, wheels, suspension, and undercarriage.

How Potholes Affect Your Car

Tires and wheels Potholes typically have rough edges which can compress the tire. The impact could cause tread separation of the tires or even a flat. Running over a deep pothole can scratch the rims or bend and crack the wheels.

Suspension Repeated jolts from potholes accelerate the rate of wear and tear on your steering and suspension system. Your car’s suspension is made to absorb impact but sometimes an unruly pothole can cause damage. Misalignment, broken ball joints, or damaged shocks are all possible outcomes. Look out for any strange noises, vibrations, or pulling in one direction while driving.

Undercarriage Smaller cars are lower to the ground which makes damage to the low-hanging bumpers and sidings more likely. While this damage is mostly cosmetic, it can be a costly repair.

Exhaust pipes Your exhaust pipes are one of the lowest-hanging parts of your car. This makes them a perfect target for potholes. Damage to the exhaust system includes scraping or puncturing of the pipes. You’ll know right away if the exhaust system is damaged from a lot of noise and possibly loss of power. Concerns about the exhaust system should be addressed as soon as possible.

How to Avoid Potholes

Sometimes running over a pothole is unavoidable- they can come up quickly and are sometimes impossible to maneuver around due to surrounding traffic. Swerving or braking quickly can do more harm by causing a collision with other cars on the road.

Your best bet is to slow down while driving and if you must go over a pothole- keep your wheel straight. If there is no surrounding traffic, carefully check your mirrors and maneuver around it.

Avoid flat tires or bent wheels by making sure your tires are properly inflated. Check your vehicle’s proper inflation level on the sticker found in the driver-side doorjamb or owner’s manual. If you notice any loud noises, uneven rolling, or a bulge or dent in your tires, get your vehicle inspected immediately at a local Car-X Tire & Auto.

Driving in Hazardous Weather

Winter driving, snow tires

Preparation, practice, staying calm and caution are the keys to staying safe in hazardous driving conditions. Conditions such as snow, heavy rain, or even thick fog often relate to an increase in traffic incidents/crashes. Don’t let this make you think that a little bit of snow or rain doesn’t also call for precautions when driving. Vehicles leave oils and exhaust that can accumulate on roads and a small amount of precipitation can lead to slick and slippery road conditions. Though, there may be times where you cannot protect yourself from every danger on the road you can do your part to minimalize the risk.

Driving in Fog

Fog is more common in the colder months and reduces visibility and gives an incorrect perception of your current driving speed. If you feel at any point that you are unsafe to drive or if visibility is so poor, make the choice to pull over on the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights. If the weather conditions are bad stay in your car and wait for the fog to dissipate. It is not easy to say how long that will take but it is always best to take the safe route when in dangerous weather while driving.

If you must drive in the fog, following are some tips:

  • Use your low beam headlights, whether it is day or night. High beams will reflect light back at you in fog, making it even more difficult to see. Use fog lights if your vehicle has them.
  • Make sure your windshield is clear and use your wipers and defrosters as needed to increase your visibility.
  • Always signal well in advance for turns and brake early when approaching a stop to help others see your vehicle.
  • Keep your windows and lights clean to improve visibility.

Driving on Slick/Slippery Roads

Rain is at times not the only cause for slippery roads, any time water gets on the road it can be dangerous to drive. When the weather is dry the oil from our vehicles builds up on the roads and then when it mixes with fresh rain the road conditions can turn hazardous. Large amounts of rain fall, especially when coupled with freezing cold, also leads to slippery conditions.

Tips for driving on slippery roads:

  • Slow down – there is less friction causing reduced traction. When you completely lose traction that is when hydroplaning can happen, sending your car out of control.
  • Increase space between other cars – with less traction you will need more room to brake.
  • Turn on headlights – increase your car’s visibility to other cars.
  • Don’t use cruise control.
  • Drive in the tracks of the cars in front of you – the path the car in front of you is leaving less water on that part of the road.
  • Check your tires – The tread on your tire helps channel water out the way and helps provide traction. If your tire tread is low, you increase the risk of losing control of your vehicle.

For the colder months the same applies to snow and ice. During winter weather conditions it is important to regularly check your car tires for low tire pressure and tread depth, along with your battery. Extreme cold often leads to a dead battery and that is the last thing you want when out in winter weather. Also, remember to make sure your gas tank always has at least a half tank full during the winter.

Car sitting idle for weeks or months? Here’s what you need to know.

car sitting idle, auto repair, car maintenance, car care

Has your car been sitting for weeks? Maybe even Months? If so, there are some things you need to know to keep your car working properly for when you need it. The main issue that you might run into is a dead battery. That is why it is good practice to drive your car for a few minutes every two to three weeks. The last thing you want to happen is to be in an emergency situation where you need to use your car and it won’t start due to a dead battery.

A dead battery is the main concern but there are other issues that can occur with letting your car sit dormant for too long. You many also run into a problem with your tires. Over time, and especially in the colder months, your tires will slowly lose air pressure and if you don’t refill the tires and continue to let the car sit this can cause permanent flat spots. Driving with flat spots on your tires will cause a bumpy ride and even a bit of noise. By keeping your tires inflated and driving your car every couple of weeks, you will avoid this problem and help retain your tire’s shape.

A less common issue that can happen is rodent infestation in your car. Sometimes rodents will take up residence under the hood or even in the exhaust pipe. The biggest problem that can happen is the rodents may chew through wiring harnesses and other parts made of soy and other organic materials used on modern vehicles.

Make sure to do a routine check on your car every couple of weeks. Drive it for a few miles to make sure everything is working. Keep your tires inflated and gas tank full. If you find yourself with a dead battery, flat tire, or even damage by rodents your local Car-X is here to help. Find your Car-X here.

Should your College Student Take their Car to School?

taking car to collegeBack to school can be a time of big decisions for parents and students. One of the most difficult is whether or not to take a car away to college. Consider the following when making this decision:

Responsible use – Has your child done his or her part in taking care of their vehicle so far? Have they driven safely and not had a problem with speeding tickets or accidents? Keep in mind the atmosphere of college inevitably means less supervision and more opportunities for poor decisions, so trust is a major factor.

School policy – Colleges have varying policies on cars for students. Many universities don’t allow first-year students to bring cars to campus. If your student’s school does allow vehicles, the next thing to look into is parking. Will there be a nearby lot or deck they can park in, or will they have to park further away? If the parking area safe?

• Convenience to family – Does it make sense to the rest of the family that your student’s car be gone for semesters at a time? There could be younger siblings near or of driving age that may need the car.

Jobs or internships – If your student has a part-time job or internship this fall, especially off-campus, then it is important they have a reliable means of transportation.

Cost – Does your child have a way to pay for gas, parking permits, etc., or will you be covering that? Come up with a plan, such as you paying a certain percentage if your student maintains a certain GPA.

Rules – Should you make the decision your student will take their car, establish some ground rules. Classmates will surely ask to borrow or drive the car at some point.

Alternatives – Should you decide your student won’t take their car, there are several alternatives to having a car on campus to consider.

Get Summer Road Ready

Are you ready for the Summer?
Summer Road Trip
Let the ASE Certified Techs at Car-X Tire & Auto  make sure your vehicle is safe & road ready!

Get vacation ready w/ the following tips:

Battery– Have your battery checked along with the charging system. Most people feel that the cold is tough on a vehicle’s battery, but it is heat that truly wears a battery out!

Tires– Have your tires checked for wear and have them rotated if needed. Teen-agers really do not enjoy changing tires while on vacation. Swimming and boating is a lot more desirable to them then this activity.

Cooling system– Ensure that your coolant can handle the extra heat you will be asking it to absorb and make sure it is still protecting all the different metals in your engine. Have the belts and hoses checked as well. The number one reason for vehicle break down while on the road is a blown heater hose.

Fluids– Make sure that all critical fluids are full and ready to make the long trip with no problems along the way! This list includes engine oil, transmission fluid, brake and power steering fluid, and also differential fluid. Change any of these fluids that are at the end of their useful life.

A/C– No time is the air conditioning system needed more then during a long road trip with the family all on board the vehicle. Cooler inside temperatures usually mean cooler tempers and a lot more enjoyable road trip. The A/C system should be checked for proper performance including compressor operation along with the cooling fans. You need to ensure that vehicle will be properly cooled when the outside heat is 90 plus degrees. Most newer vehicles are now equipped with a cabin filter and this needs checked yearly especially if anyone in the family suffers from allergies. Lastly, the A/C system should be checked for any small leaks so that the A/C does not quit half-way through your fun filled vacation trip.

How to Maximize Fuel Economy

Improving fuel economy is a matter of changing your driving habits. The benefits range from environmental to personal and financial. Here are some easy and effective tips on maximizing your fuel economy.

  • Drive Conservatively – Rapid acceleration and hard braking can reduce your fuel economy by 15-30% at highway speeds (10-40% in stop and go traffic).
  • Use Cruise Control – Cruise control reduces the fluctuations in speed keeping your car at a consistent pace helping to saving gas.
  • Avoid unnecessary Idling – Between 1 quarter to ½ gallon of fuel per hour is used when idling. Turn off your engine until you’re ready to get on your way, restarting your engine only uses 10 seconds worth of fuel. Only shut off your engine when it is safe to do so.  
  • Practice Proper car Maintenance:
    • Remove any extra items from your car – More weight = more fuel your car needs to use
    • Change your oil regularly
    • Check your tire pressure
    • Check your engine air filter and replace if needed
    • Choose to roll down your windows instead of using AC
    • Regularly track your fuel economy

Extend the Life of your Used Vehicle

As the prices rise for a new car, more people are opting to buy used rather than new. If you are among the population that currently drives a used car, you know how important maintaining you car can be. The below tips will help make your used car last longer.

Drive carefully – This may seem like a no-brainer, but the way your vehicle is driven has a greater impact on its lifespan than nature. By making sure you drive the speed limit and making smooth start and go transitions, you can reduce unnecessary wear on your vehicle, in addition to improving gas mileage.
Follow recommended maintenance schedule – 40% of American drivers delay regularly scheduled maintenance to save money. Unfortunately, putting off these important checkups can eventually lead to costlier transactions. Items such as filter and fluid replacements and fixing minor repairs will help extend your vehicle’s life, as well as help you avoid poor performance or expensive repairs down the road. Simple maintenance items can make a huge difference. For example, changing your vehicle’s air filter when needed helps the engine last longer.
Keep your car clean – Remove dirt and debris from both the inside and outside of your car as often as possible. This prevents your car from aging prematurely. In addition, regularly cleaning often helps spot potential problems earlier, and gives you the opportunity to repair them before they get worse.
Monitor your cooling system – Your car’s cooling system is very important to keeping your engine well cared for. Maintaining the system along with having the right level of coolant can potentially save you thousands of dollars in future repairs.
Check Tire PressureKeep your tires in good shape – Your tires are your vehicle’s only contact with the road, therefore, should be properly maintained. Make sure your tires have the right amount of pressure and tread and get them rotated per your owner’s manual. Your tires impact the way your vehicle handles, which in turn impacts the condition of its parts.
Use high mileage motor oil – Two-thirds of vehicles on the road are considered high mileage, and many of them are a quart or more low on motor oil. With older cars, burn-off (the evaporation of oil) is a common occurrence. The problem is magnified when you car has an inadequate amount of oil. When the oil breaks down, it deposits a dirty emission in your engine, which causes it to be less efficient and prone to failure. High mileage motor oil is designed to combat the burn-off, as well as maintain the proper amount of oil. It is recommended for all cars with over 75,000 miles.
Keep accurate maintenance records – Keep a notebook in your car and document all services performed on it. Keep all receipts and documents in a safe place should you ever need to refer to them.
Shelter – If possible, keep your car in a garage or carport of some kind. The sun’s rays can be harmful to your car, and can cause premature aging as with people.
Pay attention to your warranty – If you have a warranty on your used car that is about to expire, there are a number of things you should do before it does. These include repairing damaged or concerning parts, checking for recalls, and getting a comprehensive checkup. You may want to consider an extended warranty, such as a vehicle service contract, which covers vehicle repairs, or a maintenance contract, which covers scheduled maintenance.

Getting ready to buy?
• If you are preparing to buy a car, do your research. Check performance and maintenance ratings on all vehicles you are considering. Sites such as Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds can help you determine the higher rated vehicles, which typically last longer. There is a tool that calculates the True Cost to Own (TCO), which helps show the maintenance and repair costs you can expect for particular vehicles.

A/C Problems? Don’t Sweat it!

air conditioning, A/C not working

For many people, a significant part of summer is embarking on road trips- whether to a neighboring state or (for the hardcore ones) cross-country. While there are many factors that can cause stress to a long drive (such as… the drive), one major concern is the status of your A/C system. If you’re going to be scrunched in a restricted space for more than a few hours, it’s important to be as comfortable as possible. This means having an A/C system that provides a shield from the scorching heat.

There are two main directions your A/C system can stray: reduced air pressure and warmer air temperature. Either of these requires specific attention, and soon in order to keep the cost to a minimum.

The first thing you should check is the warranty from your dealer, as your vehicle might be eligible for a free fix. Otherwise, check in to an auto shop that offers A/C repair services.

It is extremely important to explain in great detail what the problem is. Does the A/C only produce room-temperature air? Is the air failing to reach the back of your vehicle, even on full volume? Good communication can end up saving you money and time.

The solution could be as simple as recharging the A/C system; however, putting off the problem could result in a complete A/C system fail, which will cost much more to fix.

If your vehicle is currently under warranty, consider taking action if it is showing any signs of A/C problems. It is always better to handle the problem early, rather than waiting.

Once your A/C is properly tuned-up, you will be ready to conquer the roads without breaking a sweat on your summer road trip.

Why Regular Oil Changes are Critical

importance of oil changes

The Significance of Regular Oil Changes for Your Vehicle

As a driver it’s crucial to grasp the significance of oil changes. Oil changes rank among the simple maintenance tasks you can carry out for your car. Consistent upkeep plays a role in prolonging your vehicle’s lifespan and ensuring its operation. In this blog post we will delve into the importance of oil changes, indications that your car requires an oil change, recommended frequency for oil changes, and the advantages of routine vehicle maintenance.

The Importance of Regular Oil Changes
Oil is essential for maintaining engine performance by minimizing friction and controlling heat. Over time oil becomes contaminated with dirt and debris leading to reduced efficiency and potential harm to engine components. Regular oil changes help sustain a normal level of oil to keep your engine in top notch condition.

Signs that Indicate Your Car Requires an Oil Change
There are some signs to suggest that it’s time for an oil change. These signs include:

  • Odd engine noises
  • Presence of oil leaks
  • Noticeable burnt oil smell

Moreover, if your vehicle is not performing up to par or experiencing a decrease in fuel efficiency it may be time to consider getting an oil change.

Frequency of Oil Changes
The frequency you should change your oil depends on the make and model of your vehicle and the oil used, but most vehicles generally require an oil change every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. However it is always recommended to consult your owner’s manual for maintenance guidelines. If you frequently drive in conditions such as hot weather, dusty roads or stop and go traffic – you might need more frequent oil changes.

Benefits of Regular Maintenance
Regular maintenance plays a crucial role in ensuring that your vehicle operates efficiently and helps prevent costly repairs down the line. This includes oil and oil filter changes, brake inspections and electrical checks. By adhering to maintenance schedules, potential issues can be identified, leading to savings in both money and time in the long term. Additionally, regularly maintained vehicles tend to save on fuel costs while enhancing road safety by reducing the likelihood of breakdowns.

 Kinds of Oil

  • Conventional Motor Oil
    Conventional motor oil has its origins in crude oil that is pumped from the ground and processed. A base oil is produced to which additives are added, changing the properties of the oil to give it viscosity, protection properties, and improved heat breakdown levels.
  • Full Synthetic Motor Oil
    Synthetic motor oil is completely made with artificial or synthesized components. Additives are added to give it properties similar to those of conventional motor oil.
  • Synthetic Blend Oil
    Synthetic blend oil combines both full synthetic oil and conventional oil. This blend generally has more conventional oil than synthetic oil and it includes the beneficial additives of synthetic oil that help protect the engine.

Be sure to check your car’s specifications for the right oil to use. Depending on your vehicle, conventional oil should be changed every 3-5,000 miles, full synthetic will need to be changed every 10,000 to 15,000 miles, and synthetic blend needs to be changed every 5,000 to 7,500 miles.

Professional Oil Change Services
For car owners who find changing their oil both time consuming and messy, opting for professional oil change services at a service center can be a much more convenient solution. They will properly dispose of the oil and filter and ensure your vehicle is ready for the road.

To summarize, regular vehicle maintenance, especially oil changes, plays an important role in maintaining optimum performance for your vehicle. It’s important to be aware of the indicators that signal when an oil change is needed and how frequently it should be done based on your car make and model. By adhering to regular maintenance practices, car owners can save both time and money in the long run while enjoying a safe and dependable driving experience.

Car-X is Your One Stop Auto Repair Solution
Car-X has been providing quality, reliable automotive service since 1971. Proper maintenance and service of your vehicle can make a big difference in providing you with many miles of trouble-free driving. Contact Car-X today and schedule an appointment for an oil change on your vehicle and we will make the process easy and fast!

request appointment

“Enjoy Illinois” 300 Nascar Races

Car-X, NASCAR, Enjoy Illinois

The BREX Car-X Group sponsored the “Enjoy Illinois 300” Nascar Races at the Worldwide Technology Raceway in Madison County on June 3rd & 4th. It was a very hot 90+ degrees both Saturday and Sunday with just under 100,000 fans over the two days of racing. In spite of the heat, it was a great weekend with lots of fun with the community. Race fans threw Cornhole bags to win promotional items and registered to win Cardinals Box seats and $100 Visa Gift  Cards.

Car-X, NASCAR, Enjoy Illinois

Car-X, NASCAR, Enjoy Illinois